This trial has not been about religion or a vendetta. It was simply about child abuse and preventing further abuse.
I hope that all FLDS girls and women will understand that no matter what anyone may say, you are created equal. You do not have to surrender your rights or your spiritual sovereignty. I know how hard it is, but please stand up and fight for your voice and power of choice. I will continue to fight for you.--Elissa's statement after Jeff's 2007 trial (p. 422)Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall is my sixth book in my study of the FLDS. I have read about some amazing women, my next step will be delving into what the "lost boys" have gone through. I am stunned at what can be done to men and women when they are in a cult. Yet, we are all susceptible to being indoctrinated and brainwashed.
I have been immensely inspired by the women who have managed to escape the clutches of the FLDS, and even though it wasn't easy, fought to build a life for themselves and their children.
Elissa's story is especially impressive, because she started fighting back at the tender age of 14. She was forced into marriage with a cousin she hated and was raped repeatedly. This marriage was orchestrated by her "prophet", Warren Jeffs. Elissa's father had already been exiled from her family by Jeffs, and her mother and sisters felt powerless to protect her.
She didn't have a way to escape then, and she thought her eternal salvation was at stake, so she stayed, but she didn't stay silent.
In the FLDS, girls and women are told to "keep sweet", which means, no matter how unhappy you are, no matter how badly you are treated, you are to pretend to be happy and be obedient to your "priesthood head".
Yet, Elissa didn't keep sweet all the time, and she actually had the nerve to speak out. She was fortunate that she had older sisters and brothers who had escaped before her, and eventually she was able to be set free. It wasn't easy, she had to leave behind her mother and two younger sisters.
It took years, but she even ended up being a star witness along with her sister, Rebecca Musser at Warren Jeffs' first trial in 2007.
Below are some significant quotes from her book:
Our religion left no room for logical reasoning and honest questioning.--p. 44Elissa says it best in the last paragraph of her book:
Without my nurturing older sister around, I had no one to make me feel safe in the unrest that had taken over our home and irrevocably changed out lives.--p. 49
I was making the choice that my mother had been unable to make for me and my siblings. I was choosing to give my child the power of choice.--p.321
...there are still so many young girls and women who don't yet realize that they, too, have the right to cry out against injustice. I hope this book reaches the many young girls and women around the world whose faces I'll never see and whose names I'll never know, and that perhaps in some way my words will help them to use their strength to reclaim what is rightfully theirs--the power of choice.Previous FLDS Posts:
The Treatment of Women
Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage
Church of Lies
Studying the FLDS
When Men Become Gods
The Witness Wore Red